Women of History

Emily Wilding Davison: Original Women’s Lib Martyr, Publicist Extraordinaire

I’m not sure I understand her methods.

Martyrdom is pretty universal, although volunteering takes a special kind. Emily Wilding Davison devoted her life to gaining women the vote in England. At the age of 40, Emily was already a catalyzing force in the Women’s Movement. 

She had been a gifted student, eventually attending Oxford University. This being the Victorian era, she never earned a degree because Oxford didn’t award them to women at the time.

Emily became a teacher and, by and by, a political activist. Denied greater exercise of her talents, the obvious first step to liberation was civic engagement. She joined the Women’s Social and Political Union in 1906, a very active group of agitators founded by another famous suffragist, Emmeline Pankhurst.

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Alexandra Kollontai: the Brutal Bolshevik‘s Legacy to Feminism

Born to a wealthy Russian military family at the height of the Victorian era, Alexandra Kollontai rejected the upper-class life.

Opinionated and intelligent, she dove into politics young. Driven by the conviction that “bourgeois feminists” could never really understand the plight of The People, at 21 she ran away from her army officer husband and married a poor cousin. But it was the dangerous conditions in a local factory that caused her to snap. Devoting herself to Marxism, Alexandra left her second husband and made the acquaintance of the important men in the revolutionary Bolshevik party.

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